When will the Anglican Church stop discriminating against the transracial community?

According to this woman, the “idea of race is a lie”. As usual, the Anglican Church of Canada is behind the times and is still dithering about installing transgender toilets; the latest, and undoubtedly the most serious issue to assail the tattered remains of Western Civilisation is transracialism. When will those sluggards in the ACoC catch up?

In all seriousness, this is good news for most of us, since we can all self-identify as Aboriginal and claim compensation from the ACoC for decades of residential school abuse.

Rachel Dolezal – the white US woman who said she was black – says “the idea of race is a lie”.

Speaking in an interview with Emily Maitlis, she argued that the concept of “transracial” – similar to that of transgender – is useful in describing people such as herself.

Rachel Dolezal has just written a book about her experience, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.

Diocese of Niagara parish offers Islamic prayer to Allah

In the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting, St. Simon’s in Oakville decided to support Muslims by praying to Allah during its monthly labyrinth walk. The labyrinth walk is normally reserved for trendy events like Gaia inspired eco-worship, so this is a new exploration of the boundaries of voguish virtue-signalling, a further lurch into fatuity.

The sad thing is, I remember the time, a few decades ago, when St. Simon’s was orthodox and evangelical.

From here:

When we all heard of a shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City during evening prayers in late January, faith communities across Canada were shocked. At St. Simon’s Oakville, Rector Darcey Lazerte tried to comfort his parish community with a sermon focusing on understanding and taking action to support the Muslim congregations. It only seemed fit to dedicate our monthly labyrinth walk to peace in support of the Muslim community.

An invitation to Al Falah Islamic Centre was quickly offered, and through Dr. Majid Kazi’s effort, eight members of the mosque joined our walk. Together with five members of the parish, two people from Greening Sacred Spaces Halton and several regular walkers, our February labyrinth walk became a spiritual support group. As part of the meditations, we used a Muslim prayer for peace by Muhammad al-Jazri. It was completed during the siege of Damascus, December 1389. (See sidebar.)The debriefing at the end of the walk was a testament to the strength of the Muslim brothers and sisters in their pursuit of peace and greater understanding of the foundation of their faith.

We are hopeful that this new fellowship will lead to other shared opportunities.

This was the prayer:

O Allah, unite our hearts and set aright our mutual affairs, guide us in the path of peace.
Liberate us from darkness by Your light, save us from enormities whether open or hidden.
Bless us in our ears, eyes, hearts, spouses, and children.
Turn to us; truly you are Oft-Returning,  Most Merciful.
Make us grateful for Your bounty and full of praise for it, so that we may continue to receive it and complete Your blessings upon us.

I’m not sure what “enormities” the congregation of St. Simon’s need to be liberated from, but perhaps one is the enormous folly of reciting an Islamic prayer in a Christian church.

Anglican Church of Canada: nothing good about Residential Schools

Read it all here:

Dear Senator Beyak:

Not only in the Red Chamber on Parliament Hill, but across the country, many people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – were dismayed by your remarks. You said “I was disappointed in the TRC’s Report and that it didn’t focus on the good,” associated with Residential Schools. Had you, Senator, made these remarks within a discussion of the TRC’s Report, your comments might have been less shocking.

Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of Residential School were “good”.  But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were “bad” – very bad in fact. One only needs to have attended a local, regional or national event hosted by Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission to know this. The Commissioners listened to the personal stories of thousands of students – of survivors – all of which bore witness to the horrific experience they had.

There are hundreds of students who went to Residential Schools administered by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). They have told their stories at our church’s National Native Convocation and at Sacred Circle Gatherings. We have been rendered speechless by what we heard. We have hung our heads in shame and raised them with remorse over the pain our church inflicted upon those children.

There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

The letter from Fred Hiltz, Mark MacDonald and Michael Thompson continues in the same vein with more fervent breast-beating.

While it seems beyond dispute that there was abuse in the residential schools, what really seems to be bothering the authors of this letter is the underlying assumption of the day that the Christian, Western world view held by the government, teachers and missionaries involved in the schools was superior to that of the aboriginals. That was the real evil at work, that is what was at the root of the abuse.

The church has since seen the light and now holds the opposite opinion: Western traditions, Christendom, perhaps even Christianity itself, are inferior to just about any other culture so long as the culture is not grounded in Judeo-Christian beliefs.

For another perspective, this is worth a look:

On June 11, 2008, Stephen Harper issued an apology for the residential school system in Canada. He called it a “sad chapter in our history,” noting that its primary objectives “were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture … the government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly. Nous le regrettons. We are sorry. Nimitataynan. Niminchinowesamin. Mamiattugut.”

The National Post has carried many stories about these schools before and since that apology. And every time we do, it is interesting to see that most of the letters we receive argue that the schools have been unfairly portrayed in the media.

That phenomenon was on display again this week, following the publication of last Saturday’s story, “4,000 Children died in residential schools; Truth commission.” As that story detailed, “commission officials expect that number to rise as researchers access much more complete files from Library and Archives Canada and elsewhere.”

Letter writers commenting on that story this week complained that the article lacked important historical context.

“Nice work, National Post, as you continue to dump on the charitable work accomplished by generations of selfless missionaries, physicians, nurses and teachers of the Canadian North,” wrote C. Lutz, of Haliburton, Ont. “[This story] heavily spins out a ‘physical and sexual abuse’ [narrative] as if 150,000 Indian and Inuit children had gained nothing good from taxpayer-provided white education. At least some of them learned enough English and French to, fluently, play the system and bite the hand that had fed them.”

“By today’s standards, 4,000 deaths out of a total of 150,000 students is shocking,” wrote Russel Williams of Georgeville, Que. “But given the period covered, 1870 to 1996, it may compare quite favourably with Canada at large, or Canadian aboriginal communities specifically, for the same period. One must bear in mind that much of this period predates immunization for smallpox, whooping cough, and diphtheria. It also predates penicillin for treatment of TB. Given the above, perhaps the statistic is not as alarming as it first might seem.”

“It was undoubtedly a terrible thing to be taken from your family, but in the early days, the reserves were impoverished and 90% of First Nations people were infected with tuberculosis,” added Michelle Stirling. “It is hard to say if the students got tuberculosis at the residential schools. And until the 1950s, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death of all Canadians.

“I am aware that some people will feel that I am defending the known cases of abuse and cruelty — I do not defend these,” Ms. Stirling continued. “My own father was the victim of the same [abuse] at the hands of his own white Anglo-Saxon teachers at his British boarding school. He used to have his left hand beaten black and blue and tied behind his back because he was left-handed.”

We also heard from a non-native who attended the St. Paul’s Indian Residential School in southern Alberta (the Blood/Kainai Reserve) for six years.

“When so many Canadians rely on publications like the National Post to stay informed on important issues, it is disappointing to see an article like that,” wrote Mark DeWolf of Halifax. “How does this figure compare to the number of First Nations children who died outside of the schools? Over 126 years and out of 150,000 students, the figure is perhaps not so surprising, given the deplorable health conditions on some reserves and high rates of communicable illness. More could and should have been done to ensure the health of these students, but let’s have responsible journalism, not emotional pandering to readers.”

Order your LGBT vestments here

I don’t normally put advertisements on my blog but, for this worthy cause, I thought I’d make an exception.

EquallyAnglican, a Facebook page dedicated to individuals who “are your LGBTQ friends and family in the Anglican Church of Canada”, is promoting an LGBT priest’s vestments business.

The question is, how would the business react to an order for a vestment embroidered with this message: “I support traditional marriage between one man and one woman”? Would the order be rejected resulting in howls of “discrimination” from the would-be purchaser? Would there be complaints to the Human Rights Commission? Lawsuits? Probably not.

Friends, we are thrilled to officially announce the arrival of #equallyAnglican vestments! Thanks to the amazing Catherine Comor at “Creative Spirit” for this absolutely stunning embroidered stole!

This design would make a perfect gift for the clergyperson in your life, and just in time for Pride month! 🌈 ⛪️

Bishop of Singapore issues Beauty and the Beast warning

I didn’t use to pay much attention to what Anglicans are up to in Singapore but since a couple of my grandchildren have moved there, I have developed more of an interest.

To his credit, the Anglican bishop of Singapore, Rennis Ponniah has issued this statement warning parents that Disney’s new version of Beauty and the Beast has “homosexual content”.

Life, of course, has “homosexual content” but whereas in times past it was largely hidden from view – I remember my mother telling me she was unaware of the existence of homosexuality until she was in her 20s – today it is paraded conspicuously at every opportunity and has become the standard by which our tolerance for others is measured. Or, at least our 21st century replacement of what used to be tolerance for others – see how far you are tolerated if you decline to put a statement you disagree with on a cake, for example.

Now, to make sure we don’t have a repeat performance of my mother’s experience, children have to be made aware, not just that homosexuality exists, but that it is a normal part of life. In fact, it’s probably more normal, more fun, more to be aspired to and more cool than run-of-the mill monogamous heterosexuality with all its tedious trappings like bearing, providing for and rearing the fruit of one’s union. At least, that’s what Disney would like children to believe.

Dear Clergy & Deaconesses,

It is needful that you alert your congregation about the homosexual content in Disney’s re-make of Beauty and the Beast – a film scheduled for screening during the March school holidays.

Disney films for children’s entertainment are usually associated with wholesome, mainstream values. But times are changing at a foundational level. In this new live-action remake of the classic film , the character LeFou is portrayed as gay and a ‘gay moment’ is included in the movie by way of a sub-plot.

Parents are therefore strongly advised to provide guidance to their children about this re-make of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ , and indeed to their children’s entertainment choices in a rapidly changing age. Let us pursue Prov 22:6 ” Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The Diocese and the National Council of Churches are working  on a fuller advisory to our members in the coming week.

With the Lord’s blessing as we shepherd our people.

Bishop Rennis Ponniah
11 Mar 2017

Franklin Graham vs the Anglican Church of Canada

Franklin Graham’s Vancouver crusade seems to have been a great success.

Mission accomplished: 2,318 people made a commitment to Christ.

Received via email:

What an amazing weekend at the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope.

Over the three nights, 34,406 people attended in person, with 1929 people going forward to make a commitment to Christ.  On top of that, 65,429 people from seventy-six countries watched the Festival of Hope online, with 389 people making a commitment to Christ online.  We are rejoicing for lives that have been touched for eternity.  It was such a privilege to serve on the Festival of Hope Executive, led by Pastor Guilio Gabeli with the invaluable wisdom of the Festival Director David Ingram.  The Billy Graham family and the Billy Graham team are such quality people.  We are particularly grateful for Dion and Tammy Collins who served on the ground as Assistant Director and Office Manager.  An unexpected treat was to have the grandson of Billy Graham, Will Graham, join his Dad Franklin Graham for the Festival.  This was Will’s third time here, since he helped us kick off the Festival and then led 500 young people to Christ at Vancouver Missions Fest this January.

As an antidote to Franklin Graham’s blatant promotion of Christianity, Anglicans sponsored a multi-faith event to celebrate diversity.

Mission accomplished: 0 people made a commitment to Christ.

From here:

People from many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver to show support for one another at two well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred.

Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States.

That American political problems have spilled into Canada was suggested by a bomb threat the previous week which resulted in the evacuation of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (no bomb was found), and by controversy surrounding a three-day campaign in Vancouver led by Franklin Graham, an American evangelist who once called Islam “a very evil, a very wicked religion” and supported a ban on Muslim immigration in the U.S.

Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both gatherings. The first took place on March 7 at Vancouver’s Or Shalom Synagogue. It was sponsored by the synagogue and the diocese of New Westminster and featured talks, chants, songs, meditation, and even dancing, from a wide variety of faith traditions.

It was followed two days later by a presentation  at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church involving a rabbi, an imam, and a bishop entitled “Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.” This event was organized by St. Andrew’s and Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver.

Another scandal strikes at the heart of the Church of England

I am almost starting to feel sorry for Archbishop Justin Welby.

Recently he has had to deal with a child abuse scandal in which his detractors suggested he could be implicated, the rejection by his clergy of a report on human sexuality written at great expense by his bishops – in reality, the average British schoolboy knows more about sex than any bishop and could have produced something similar for nothing – and has squandered countless carbon credits flying all over Africa trying to drum up support for his bishop’s opinions about sex – the ones his own clergy just rejected.

And now, we have the last straw, the coup de grâce, the final assault on Canterbury’s mission to reconcile refined, effete, public school cultivated homosexuality with the raw condemnations one unavoidably stumbles across in Scripture.

Someone has placed plastic furniture in a 12th Century Church.

Various theories have been suggested as to the reason for this clear act of sabotage. The most plausible is that by placing a by-product of the demon fossil fuel, oil, in a sacred space, Welby’s enemies are making a subtle reference to his time as an oil executive, thereby calling into question his credentials as a green bishop, a true devotee of Gaia, the fourth person of our 21st century augmented Trinity.

Kevin Sims, the person who first spotted this outrage, has his own explanation: it’s a deliberate attempt to create an aesthetic aberration. And, apparently, the change was made without going through the proper procedures. As he says: “that means effectively anyone could change anything”. Like marrying people of the same sex, for example. It’s a slippery slope.

From here:

A vicar faces an official complaint for installing a childrens’ plastic table and chairs in a 12th century church.

Rector Lynda Klimas introduced the pint-sized white furniture set as a way to keep young children entertained during services.

But a disgruntled churchgoer has made an official complaint as he feels it has no place in the “historically sensitive and sacred” Lady Chapel.

The matter will now be investigated and, if taken to a tribunal, Rev Kilmas could be given a “lifelong prohibition from exercising any ministerial functions”.

Kevin Sims, 67, who has been attending the St Mary the Virgin Church for 20 years, said: “I definitely do not feel the number of children warrants it. My main issues are for aesthetic reasons and reasons of demand.

“There are procedures in place that anyone who makes changes in church has to go through.

“My concern is that if nothing is done it means effectively anyone could change anything.”

The Episcopal Church finally does something useful

I know I tend to be a trifle negative about the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church, implying, at times, that they are nothing but the sub-Christian, desiccated remains of once influential denominations that do little more than give Christianity a bad name, make a laughing stock of their congregants and bring grief and misery to anyone who questions what they see as their divinely appointed mission to empty Christianity of metaphysical coherence.

But today, all that has changed!

Michael Curry, presiding Bishop of TEC, has truly seen into the mind of God and is forging a new path to a future glowing brightly with the transcendent luminosity of harmony, truth and justice. He has signed an amicus brief urging the high court to allow men to use women’s toilets and vice versa. The New Jerusalem is upon is.

Read it all here:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings are the lead signers on an amicus brief filed March 2 by 1,800 clergy and religious leaders in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving transgender-bathroom use policies.

The “friend of the court” brief comes in the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, which the American Civil Liberties Union and its Virginia chapter filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm and his mother, Deirdre Grimm, in June 2015.

The signers urge the high court to see that the ability to live in a country that guarantees transgender equality is a religious freedom issue. They said their faith communities have approached issues related to gender identity in different ways, but are “united in believing that the fundamental human dignity shared by all persons requires treating transgender students like Respondent Gavin Grimm in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”

Archbishops Peter Jensen and Peter Akinola in Burlington

Archbishops Peter Jensen and Peter Akinola in were in Burlington Ontario this evening to talk about GAFCON.

Here are some photos:

Bishop Charlie Masters

Archbishop Peter Jensen

Archbishops Peter Jensen and Peter Akinola

Archbishop Peter Akinola

The gathering

Here is a video of the talk:

There wasn’t a time of questions and answers but I did briefly chat with Peter Jensen afterwards and had a chance to ask a couple of questions.

I asked if the GAFCON Primates were going to attend the Primates Gathering in Lambeth that Justin Welby has planned, given the fact that conservatives were bamboozled at the last Primates Gathering in 2016. He agreed that they were bamboozled and that it would probably be a repeat performance in 2017 but that it would be an individual choice for each Primate. Apparently, the English Church is very adept at exerting subtle pressure on the Primates.

The other question I had time to ask was whether a complete break with Lambeth was coming. He thought it was inevitable but when I asked, “soon?”, the reply was “not necessarily”.

A safe space for Trumpophobics

The Diocese of New Westminster along with St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, representatives of the fastest declining denominations in North America, are banding together “to offer an antidote to the fear and despair” resulting from democracy in action in the USA.

Franklin Graham seems to have been the catalyst for this but honourable mention is given to “right-wing groups” in Europe, Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duerte. “The list goes on” as the article below notes, but it doesn’t go on to include Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Iraq or any of the other countries that concentrate much of their national energy on persecuting Christians.

The featured speakers include an imam, a Zen Buddhist and Michael Ingham, one of the most divisive Anglican bishops of the 20th Century.  Anglicans should feel quite at home.

The event is called: Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance. Even though Franklin Graham will be in Vancouver, he hasn’t been invited to state his side of the story; liberals generally can’t cope when both sides of an argument are presented. Their brains shut down in self-defensive panic. These days, I think it’s called “triggering”.

From here:

People have been confiding in Vancouver Rev. Gary Paterson that they’re having trouble feeling hopeful.

In a political era characterized by U.S. President Donald Trump, growing immigrant-skeptic movements in Europe and the murder of six Quebec Muslims, the minister at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church wanted to offer an antidote to the fear and despair he’s hearing from members of his church and the public.

So Paterson, past moderator of the United Church of Canada, teamed up with another downtown Vancouver clergyman, Rev. Peter Elliot of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral, to have a multi-faith group of speakers lead a four-part series in March titled Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.

“It’s partly a reaction to what’s happening in the United States. But the U.S. has such an influence on the world, especially Canada,” Paterson said, noting the city has been divided by the Vancouver crusade of American evangelist Franklin Graham, a major Trump supporter, to be held March 3-5.

“It’s also a reaction to reports from Europe about right-wing groups gaining traction … and to the aplomb with which (Russian President Vladimir) Putin seems to be acting these days and to (strongman Rodrigo) Duerte in the Philippines. The list goes on.”